Steel and Aluminum Imports in the U.S.

Tariffs Imposed on Certain Products as of March 23, 2018

On March 8, 2018, the US announced that for national security reasons it was going to impose tariffs of 25% on certain steel products and of 10% on certain aluminum products. The tariffs apply to imports from all partner countries (including Switzerland), with the exception of those from Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and the EU. These countries were initially granted a temporary exception until April 30, 2018, which has subsequently been extended until June 1, 2018. Only South Korea has received a permanent country exception for steel in exchange for a 30% reduction in its steel exports to the US. The tariffs in force since March 23, 2018 will continue to be levied on Swiss steel and aluminum products. The US has not yet taken any decision regarding the possible exclusion of Switzerland. The Swiss government continues its efforts in this regard.

Independently from the process of negotiating country exceptions, the White House has put the US Department of Commerce in charge of developing a process for excluding specific products from the application of the tariffs.

Forms and detailed information on the product-specific exclusion process can be found at:  U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Steel and Aluminum Tariff Exclusion Process  

How Should I Proceed?

  • Product-specific exclusions must be requested by US-based representatives or clients of foreign companies. (“only individuals or organizations using steel [or aluminum] in business activities [e.g., construction, manufacturing, or supplying steel products to users] in the United States”)
  • The examination of the requests will take place from the perspective of national security and will allow to determine whether a product is manufactured in the United States in a satisfactory quality or in a sufficient and reasonably available quantity.
    The docket number for product-exclusion requests regarding steel is BIS-2018-0006, and the docket number for requests regarding aluminum is BIS-2018-0002.
  • Requests should be submitted in electronic pdf format to at any time. They cannot be more than 25 pages long, including annexes and exhibits.
  • For further information:

Reporting Procedure for Approved Exceptions and Entry into Force

  • Exclusion requests are approved only for one product. The exceptions are limited to the company or organization which submitted the request. Consequently no exclusion will apply to all clients or representatives horizontally.
  • Normally the time period for the U.S. Department of Commerce to make a decision on requests will not exceed 90 days. It will publish the responses to each exclusion request under the docket number BIS-2018-0006 or BIS-2018-0002 at
  • Affirmative exclusion decisions will enter into force 5 working days after the responses are published In principle, they are effective for one year.

Informationsaustausch mit der Schweizer Wirtschaft: Massnahmen der USA (PDF, 91 kB, 23.04.2018)This information is currently available only in German. A translation will follow soon.

List of steel and aluminium products subject to additonal US duty

WTO Dispute settlement proceedings - Measures imposed by the United States on certain steel and aluminium products

On 9 July 2018, Switzerland launched WTO dispute settlement proceedings against import adjustment measures imposed by the United States on certain steel and aluminium products. Switzerland considers that these measures are contrary to WTO law. Consultations, which represent the first stage of WTO dispute settlement proceedings, failed to settle the dispute and Switzerland requested the establishment of a panel. The panel was established on 4 December 2018 and the proceedings are now ongoing. Six other dispute settlement proceedings – initiated by China, the European Union, India, Norway, Russia and Turkey – are currently under way concerning the measures taken by the United States.

Last modification 18.09.2019

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